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Can Chickens Eat Cilantro? Is It Safe?

Anyone who has chickens knows that these feathered friends love eating all kinds of fruits, vegetables, insects, and other foods. Chickens, being omnivores, will make a meal out of anything edible, even if it is not safe. That is why, as their keeper, it is vital for you to know which foods are the safest and most nutritional for your flock. As such, you may be wondering, “Can chickens eat cilantro? Is it safe?” Here is what you need to know about chickens eating cilantro.

What is Cilantro?

fresh cilantro bunch

Cilantro, otherwise known as coriander or Chinese parsley in some parts of the world, is a herb that is also used to spice up foods in a variety of cultures. Cilantro is full of phenolic acid, kaempferol, apigenin, quercetin, among others. Each of these is beneficial to people and chickens alike.

Cilantro is a non-toxic plant, and is thus safe to grow and feed to your chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Cilantro?

Being that cilantro is delicious, chickens will naturally eat it without any reservations. There may be some members of the flock who do not like the flavor — just like some people — but that does not mean cilantro is bad for them. If you have cilantro in your garden, the chickens will munch on the leaves and leave you with little to use for your cooking.

Can Chickens Eat Cilantro Stems?

Yes, the stems of the cilantro plant are just as edible as the rest. Interestingly, the stems are packed with far more antioxidants than the leaves, meaning that your chickens will enjoy greater benefits if you let them snack on the whole plant.

Therefore, if you are cooking in your chicken and have any leftover cilantro stems, you can toss them to the flock.

cilantro stems

Is Cilantro Safe For Chickens to Eat?

Yes, cilantro is safe for chickens to eat. You do not have to worry about them getting sick from this planet. It is easily digestible. Cilantro will not harm your chickens, even if they accidentally eat too much of it. However, you should always wash any fresh cilantro that you purchase from the store, unless it is organic or homegrown. You do not know if there is any dirt or pesticides on the cilantro that could harm your flock.

Additionally, whenever you feed something fresh to your chickens, whether it is cilantro or something else, you should never leave it to sit and rot. Any cilantro leaves that stay outside can start to go bad or become covered in dirt, bacteria, viruses, and chicken poo. Should your chickens eat such rotten food, they could become gravely ill. As such, you should always clean up after your chickens in the evening, especially if they have been given snacks.

Benefits of Cilantro For Chickens

Cilantro may not be your favorite herb or flavor, but there is no denying that it is good for you. Cilantro is loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to the health of your chickens. For example, cilantro hit the jackpot when it comes to vitamins. Complete with Vitamin A, C, K, as well as folate and beta carotene, cilantro has everything chickens need to stay healthy throughout the year and even heal up if they are injured.

Cilantro also has a complex array of B-vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. There are also trace amounts of vitamin E. The B-vitamins are also important. They help process food, improve the function of the digestive system, and also protect against nervous system conditions.

Just as impressive as the slew of vitamins is the surplus of minerals, such as iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. Furthermore, if you are letting your chickens munch on cilantro plants grown at home, each serving of the herb has about 92% water. Not only are your chickens consuming the mother load of vitamins and minerals, they are also quenching their thirst one leaf at a time.

Lastly, cilantro is low in fat and sugar. Your chickens do not run much of a risk of obesity, even if you let your chickens pluck at the cilantro plants every day. It is important to note, however, that no treat, no matter how beneficial it is, should be more than 10% of a chicken’s daily calories.

Fresh or Dry Cilantro: Which is Better for Chickens?

chickens eat greens

If you are trying to figure out which form of cilantro to give your chickens, you should only give them fresh batches. Dried cilantro, or even those pre-packaged servings of cilantro in the refrigerated section of the store, will have fewer minerals and vitamins. Dried cilantro is also less tasty to chickens.

Can You Feed Cilantro to Baby Chicks?

Yes, you can give baby chickens fresh cilantro, even from a young age. Cilantro is not difficult to digest, and so the young ones can eat small portions. The one thing you should be wary about is giving them too much. Only provide small quantities, such as a piece of leaf here and there. Their stomachs need to become accustomed to the leaves before you can start giving them more. Naturally, as the chicks mature into full adults, you can begin to increase the serving size.

How to Prepare Cilantro For Your Flock

Now that you know that chickens can indeed eat cilantro, the next step is knowing how to give it to them. Already mentioned was growing it yourself around the yard. This, however, can be problematic. Chickens love cilantro plants so much that they may just eat them until there is nothing left. As such, you may have to erect a fence or cage around your herbs, which may defeat the purpose of growing plants for your chickens in the first place.

Another option is to scatter leaves around the chicken run or yard, so your chickens can hunt for the pieces throughout the day. The downside to scattering the cilantro is that any uneaten pieces might attract other critters to the yard, which could put your flock in danger. You will have to clean up the cilantro at the end of the day.

Some people prefer gathering bundles of edible herbs for their chickens and hanging the bundles by string inside the chicken coop or run. Not only does a handing bundle eliminate a widespread mess, but it also provides endless entertainment for the birds and you. Other herbs that chickens will love to eat alongside cilantro include comfrey, mint, thyme, and oregano.

You can also cook cilantro and put it in a chicken mash in the winter time. Make sure any cooked vegetables and herbs are made without any extra ingredients. High fat additions like butter and oil can be dangerous to your birds.

Final Thoughts on Cilantro For Chickens

Can chickens eat cilantro? They certainly can. Cilantro is a safe herb that chickens love to eat fresh. Because the herb is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is a beneficial snack that you can give to your chickens throughout the week. Why not try bundling up some cilantro and hanging it for your chickens to munch on today? They are going to love it.